Jan 28 2010

Love Dare - Day 23

Love Always Protects

 

[Love] always protects. – 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV

 

Marriage is made up of many things, including joys, sorrows, successes, and failures.  But when you think about what you want marriage to be like, the furthest thing from your mind is a battleground.  However, there are some battles you should be more than willing to fight.  These are battles that pertain to protecting your spouse.

 

Unfortunately your marriage has enemies out there.  They come in different forms and use different strategies, but nonetheless they will conspire to destroy your relationship unless you know how to ward them off.

 

Some are clever and seem attractive, only to undermine your love and appreciation for one another.  Others try to lure your heart away from your spouse by feeding you unhealthy fantasies and unrealistic comparisons.  It’s a battle you must wage to protect your marriage – when love puts on armor and picks up a sword to defend its own.  Your mate and your marriage need your constant protection from things like:

 

 

Harmful influences.  Are you allowing certain habits to poison your home?  The Internet and television can be productive and enjoyable additions to your life, but they can also bring in destructive content and drain away precious hours from your family.  The same thing goes for work schedules that keep you separated from each other for unhealthy amounts of time.

 

You can’t protect your home when you’re rarely there, nor when you’re relationally disconnected.  You have to fight to keep balance right.

 

 

Unhealthy relationships.  Not everyone has the material to be a good friend.  Not every man you hunt and fish with speaks wisely when it comes to matters of marriage.  Not every woman in your lunch group has a good perspective on commitment and priorities.  In fact, anyone who undermines your marriage does not deserve to be given the title of “friend.”  And certainly you must be on guard at all times from allowing opposite-sex relationships at work, the gym, or even church to draw you emotionally away from the one to whom you’ve already given your heart.

 

 

Shame.  Everyone deals with some level of inferiority and weakness.  And because marriage has a way of exposing it all to you and your mate, you need to protect your wife or husband’s vulnerability by never speaking negatively about them in public.  Their secrets are your secrets (unless, of course, these involve destructive behaviors that are putting you, your children, or themselves in grave danger).  Generally speaking, love hides the fault of others.  It covers their shame.

 

 

Parasites. Watch out for parasites.  A parasite is anything that latches onto you or your partner and sucks the life out of your marriage.  They’re usually in the form of addictions, like gambling, drugs, or pornography.  They promise pleasure but grow like a disease and consume more and more of your thoughts, time, and money.  They steal away your loyalty and heart from those you love.  Marriages rarely survive if parasites are present.  If you love your spouse, you must destroy any addiction that has your heart.  If you don’t, it will destroy you.

 

 

The Bible speaks plainly about this protective role, often using the analogy of a shepherd.  God warned, “My flock has become prey … food for all the beasts of the field.”  How so?  “For lack of a shepherd.”  Not because these men were too weak to perform their duties but because they didn’t pay attention.  Instead of watching to make sure that the sheep weren’t being picked off by predators, “the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” (Ezekial 34:8).  They took extra good care of their own needs and appetites but gave little thought to the safety of those under their supervision.

 

Wives – you have a role as protector in your marriage. You must guard your heart from being led away through novels, magazines, and other forms of entertainment that blur your perception of reality and put unfair expectations on your husband.  Instead you must do your part in helping him feel strong, while also avoiding talk-show thinking that can lure your attention away from your family.  “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1).

 

Men – you are the head of your home.  You are the one responsible before God for guarding the gate and standing your ground against anything that would threaten your wife or marriage.  This is no small assignment.  It requires a heart of courage and a head for preemptive action.  Jesus said, “If the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matthew 24:43).  This role is yours.  Take it seriously.

 

Today’s Dare

 

Remove anything that is hindering your relationship, any addiction or influence that’s stealing your affections and turning your heart away from your spouse.

 

 

You will be restored if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent.  (Job 22:23).

 

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

 

 

Comments (28) -

1/28/2010 5:58:47 AM
BrokenHearted United States
BrokenHearted
I read back over the comments of the day before each morning.  It is amazing that there are so many of us dealing with infidelity in our marriages.  Spouse and I had a long conversation last night.  I think all the facts are out on the table.  I hope to go back to the fight fair dare over and over.  My mantra, I will deal with patience and kindness.  I think we are going to make it. Divorce has never been an option for us but I pray for joy, peace, love to return.  God is faithful.  I love JJ Heller's song, I am always in HIS hands.  I just have to keep tapping in to remove the images of an infidelity that keep returning.

All of you hurting, keep praying.  and when you can't pray, ask the prayer warrior in your church to pray for you. They don't need details.  They need to know that you need it.

God wants us all to be HIS and then our spouses.

Hanging on by a three stranded cord.
1/28/2010 6:06:14 AM
Amanda United States
Amanda
My husband and I will be married for 7 years this June! Smile I hear ya screaming at a poor old guy on the radio as I type...ROFL!!!!! Have a great day!
1/28/2010 6:52:32 AM
Cherie United States
Cherie
I have come "late" to the dare.  Is it still possible to see the first 27 days?
1/28/2010 7:04:11 AM
Missy United States
Missy
I've shared about God being one step ahead of me, and how he keeps showing me and encouraging me to keep up the good fight. Last night I dreamed I was the one being literally protected by my husband, under his arm from some danger. Now today the dare is about "Love always protects"! God keeps showing me he is there. I spent years trying to lead God. He is teaching me that he is the one that leads me. I surrender!
1/28/2010 7:16:53 AM
Becca United States
Becca
Can you guys play Hosanna by Hillsong?... Sorry to be posting a request here. Not sure where else to post it and I can't get on FB at work.

Thanks!
Love y'all!!
1/28/2010 7:32:44 AM
Shel United States
Shel
How can this dare help me if I am doing this alone and my husband is the one letting in the parasites? I have already been fighting against the ones who tell me to leave and have a friend I speak with several times a day who is FOR our marriage. How can this dare help me if my husband is not of understanding of God's expectations of his role in the marriage as leader and protector? We've discussed it before but he is refusing a righteous life. How can this dare help me if my husband refuses to fight?
1/28/2010 8:33:17 AM
Kathy United States
Kathy
Shel
I want you to know I am praying for you too.  I totally understand.  When I read the dare today I thought EXACTLY what you are thinking.  But, I just prayed that God would work in the heart of my husband.  That is all we can do.  My heart is still heavy, but I am still trusting, as I know you are.  
Sandy
I replied to your post yesterday, but it is not on the blog.  I would enjoy speaking to someone.  Thanks a bunch!
1/28/2010 8:49:46 AM
Ann United States
Ann
Shel, I understand your doubt.  My husband is planning on moving out.  He told me this 2 months ago.  I was praying, asking for something I could do and the next day a friend called me and told me about this dare.  I asked my husband to read this with me and his answer was "Why can't you just let me go."  We have 2 beautiful, smart girls ages 8 and 5 and have been married for 9.5 years, together for 16.5 years.  I don't know either how this will help but obviously God wanted me to do it.  Just pray and put your faith in Him that He will do His work in your marriage.
1/28/2010 9:25:06 AM
Laura Richards United States
Laura Richards
Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with The Love Dare! Bless us, Lord, as we FIGHT for our marriages!
1/28/2010 11:37:22 AM
Sara United States
Sara
i too, thought I have nothing here that I can fix.  But i will pray hard and hope that I will see that I am not the perfect wife.  There must be something I am doing wrong!! Smile
1/28/2010 11:47:36 AM
Roxanne United States
Roxanne
Like Shel, I have been fighting this battle alone. I just want you all to know that a few weeks ago, my husband hurt me in a way that I've never been hurt. I'm a KLOVE listener. But when he betrayed me this way, I deliberately did not want to listen to KLOVE. I didn't want to hear the Love Dare. I did not want to hear any messages of forgiveness; I felt I could never forgive him again. I was even angry with God, not feeling thankful for anything in my life, filled with hate and hurt. However, a few hours ago, something told me to open up the KLOVE website and look for today's Love Dare to see what it had to say. My goodness, the tears I cried here at my desk at work. This is exactly what I'm dealing with right now. Praise God! I had been going through the internet every day searching for an answer: psychics, christian articles and secular articles on infidelity. Nothing was making me feel better, no one could relate to what I was thinking and feeling. But today's Love Dare is totally what I have been going through. Everything. Opposite-sex friends, pornography, me attempting to protect our marriage. And like Shel, I have already expressed to my husband how I feel and he doesn't seem to really care. He wants me to just forgive and forget. And I'm having a really hard time doing that because it keeps happening. And I'm tired of forgiving and being a fool again. But today's message somehow gave me some hope. I'm thinking of printing this out and giving it to my husbaned to read. He thinks I chastize him but this is the Word of God and His Words on marriage. I'm praying that this makes a difference.
1/28/2010 12:06:47 PM
Chris United States
Chris
Let me first say 'Thank You' to all of you who have opened your hearts and shared very difficult things in response to these dares and challenges.  I am praying for each of you and your marriages.  God sees and cares for each of you (and your spouses) and is big enough to tackle all of your challenges.  This is my second time through the dares as I try to repair the damage that I did to my marriage and wife through infidelity 10 years ago.  Through God's grace she has stood by me, but not without distrust, anger, resentment, etc.  I know that I have been forgiven by God, but that I also need to work hard to be the man that my wife deserves.  God worked in my heart 10 years ago to bring me back to Him and to deliver me from the 'parasite' in our marriage, and He will do the same for each of you.
The dares are so crucial because they show us (as God does in His word) that if we go through life trying to change our spouse into the person WE want them to be, we will be miserable.  Take your delight in the Lord, and work hard to become holy and sacrificing.  Work on the only heart that you can change - your own. God will absolutely work on the heart of your spouse.  Don't give up.  Keep fighting.  He will give you the strength you need every day.  His mercies are "new every morning".  You'll soon find the truth from Luke 1:37 - "Nothing is impossible with God".  Pray for me that I can glorify God in my love for my wife and that our marriage would be restored to the marriage He wants it to be.
1/28/2010 12:32:10 PM
Shel United States
Shel
Thank you everyone for your words of understanding and encouragement. Thank you,Chris for a point of view from the "other side". Chris is right, in our situations where we are doing the love dare alone and fighting without our spouses, the focus is to work on ourselves so that while God works on our spouses, we will be at a place where we can truly love them when God has answered our prayers and blessed our marriages. When God has softened their hearts and repaired their damage, ours, too will be softened and repaired so that we can accept them and have the restoration and renewal we are fighting for! Glory be to God and Bless all of you! Our prayers for each other are being heard!
1/28/2010 1:45:00 PM
Odi United States
Odi
Becca, do you want high-quality or live concert for hillsong - hossana?
1/28/2010 6:53:07 PM
Kris United States
Kris
Dear Shel,
  I know how hard it is to stay in a marriage that seems one sided. I remember as a young bride praying for my husband to give his life to Jesus, I specifically prayed for what ever it would take. Little did I know that would take me, with him thru a life of his addiction ,infidelity, financial problems and finally a fatal illness. Do I regret it? No, simply because I know the strength, faithfulness and love of my Jesus intimately. I saw my husbands spirit change before my very eyes into the sweet man that he was before his death. Its not all about this life..thank goodness. God has a plan ..its salvation for all who will turn to Him.  When we were married the minister said something I will never forget..he said that our duties was to help each other get to heaven....I believe I did, by the grace of God. The Lord is with you, you are precious to Him.He knows every feeling you have. I am praying for you.
1/28/2010 7:40:05 PM
Holly United States
Holly
I'm doing the love dare to my husband, but he isn't doing it with me because he didn't know about it until this week. I chose not to tell him because I didn't want it to be a competition.  The love dare has completely changed our relationship for the good.  I can't wait until valentines day.  

I'm praying for everyone that is doing the Love Dare.  I noticed there aren't as many posts as there was in the first week or so, so I hope that doesn't mean people have given up.  

On a side note, I was watching Joel Osteen the other day and his message was about finding value. Using a $100 bill as an example, he said it's worth $100 dollars when it's new, crisp and clean and that anyone would be glad to have it but what if it was crumpled, stepped on and all dirty?  What would the value be to you after that? It would still be $100 dollars no matter what.  God loves us and sees our value the same way.  We should love our spouses the same way God loves us.  

1/28/2010 8:09:09 PM
Laura United States
Laura
My husband is a wonderful man, especially to me. He has been the most kind in our relationship for almost 34 years now. I am so blessed to have such a lifetime friend. I say that because we are. We have loved life together for along time and I think I am not just blessed, but, also spoiled. So today I realize that I am going to work on a more perfect union....and even the scales out more. My best friend deserves my love equally back. I love you more than the world is worth still to this day my Love.....Thank you for Loving Jesus more than me all these years...I am truely loved.
1/28/2010 8:28:53 PM
booklady United States
booklady
Again, I'm so glad I have the book that I can refer back to when I can't access the internet.  

To semi-quote what Chris said...I need to continue to work on being the woman my husband deserves.   Even after the 40 days of dares are over.
1/29/2010 5:45:19 AM
Shel United States
Shel
Thank you all who have responded to my post. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!
1/29/2010 9:31:08 AM
just me United States
just me
I am thankful for these dares! It is being pointed out to me in a very obvious way that I am the problem in my relationship.  I am looking for more than my husband can give me; and I use the excuse of his disability as my cover.  His disability destroys his self esteem and I'm not doing anything to help him.  I'm just feeling sorry for myself.  The other man is married also.  We have never been physical, and I know I could never go through with it. I see nothing but destrution in this pursuit, so why can't my thoughts line up with my God? Why, since I KNOW that my heart is in the wrong place, can't I just STOP???
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Dewey Burian
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